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Tina Turner rocks Phoenix

By La Monica Everett-Haynes
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
May 2, 2000
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Click here to see Tina Turner photos.

With lights dimmed to imitate that of a darkroom, there came whispers.

Then a hush.

Then emerged a mighty Phoenix clad in tight, black leather with 3-inch heels.

An explosion of sight and sound lingered in her footsteps as she pranced on stage singing, "I Want To Take You Higher."

Immediately, in what looked like a sea of eager and open arms reaching toward the flaming sun, the crowd burst into cheer.

With an explosion of blazing fireworks, toned muscles and vocals that nearly drowned out the sound of the sold-out Phoenix concert, Tina Turner sashayed across the stage - all hair and legs.

Halting "What's Love Got To Do With It" mid-way through the song, Turner asked, "Are there any men out there?"

Answered with a deep, moaning "Yes," Turner said, "There you are, fellas."

With her hand on her hip, head cocked to the side with a sassy attitude, Turner said, "You know, I love men, they're so strong, so understanding, so cooperative."

She then told them to chant "what's love got to do, got to do with it," adding, "when I leave here I want to remember that you gave it to me nice and rough."

Born in Brownsville, Tenn., Turner - now 60 - began the tour in March.

Featured in spurts of energy, Turner began with songs of an upbeat tempo, followed with soft and sensual sounds, like "Private Dancer" until she ended with a racy, high-power version of "Nutbush City Limits."

She said "Twenty Four Seven World Tour 2000" - which does not revolve around her new album - will be the last of any large tours.

Thursday's concert at the America West Arena was a showcase of her life as a legendary songstress, Queen of Rock n' Roll, actress and unrelenting "Amazon" dismissing social standards against women and age.

"I'm going to take you on a journey of my career, starting with the first song I recorded in 1960 - A Fool In Love," said Turner, who was already dripping with sweat before she began the third song.

She moved from the left to the right side of the stage - often stopping in full center - to wave and blow kisses.

Turner performed 13 of her classic releases - including "Proud Mary" and "Simply The Best" - two covers of other artists but only three songs from her new album - "Twenty Four Seven."

From human-powered spotlights suspended in pods more than 20 feet above the floor, a 40-foot catwalk and trap doors in the floor of the stage, Turner's stage plan was as captivating as her performance.

Still, with seven costume changes, three sexy background singers and two divas-in-waiting singing background vocals, Turner put out a more sexually provocative performance of her career.

Background vocalist and actress, Gloria Reuben - who plays Jeanie Boulet on NBC's "ER" - was "beginning her singing debut," Turner said about the actress who will be leaving the television drama to tour with the band full time.

Reuben blended into Turner's crowd as though she were just another professional singer and dancer.

Using dance moves from the "Ike" era mixed with contemporary club dance, Turner's three dancers - all of whom are in their early 20s - over-exaggerated sensual dance moves giving the affect of eager sex dolls.

All the sexual action from her dancers, technical gadgets, fireworks and lights - including two songs performed by the "girls" without Turner - often moved the attention away from Turner.

Still, she gave a full-fledged show without hiding her own sex appeal, proving that sexy at 60 is possible.

A large television screen, four fire burners and streaming fireworks were revealed as the stage began to part and Turner emerged. She was followed by her five "girls" as they began to perform a spicier version of Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through The Grapevine."

Wearing tight, black plastic capri pants, a low-cut spaghetti string tank and silver chains around her waist, Turner taunted the eager front-row onlookers with a flick of her finger and the wink of her eye.

Reflecting a blazing inferno, flames were added to the four television screens to give the impression that Turner and her "girls" were swaying through a blazing inferno.

Strapped with chains, wearing a low-cut shirt and zippered pants, her dancers appeared as though they had emerged from Babylon.

After more than four decades of unrelenting performances, signs of aging appeared as the VH-1 crowned "diva" sat down a number of times throughout the show.

Regardless, with every show, Turner becomes the Phoenix emerging from darkness and ashes to grace her audience with color, light and passion-evoked performances.

She sent the crowd away clamoring for another look, reflecting upon the performance and expressing their regrets that the hottest senior citizen in show business is saying good-bye.

However, some fans are skeptical about her pledge because, after all, that is what she said when she retired in 1993.

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